Opinion PC

Hands-on with Acer's brutal Core-i9 Helios 500 Gaming Laptop

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At the annual Acer global press conference today the company announced a range of new gaming hardware. One particular one that stood out for me is the new Helios 500 which is a monster and packs some brand-new up to date internals from both the CPU and GPU side of things. Most striking is the implementation of the Intel Core-i9 CPU which is one of the first gaming laptops to make use of the new chipset. 

But it is more than just a fast CPU as the Helios 500 has more going under the hood than ever before. Last year Acer wowed us with the Predator Triton and this year the company's focus on gaming is stronger than ever. 

Update: The Acer Predator Helios 500 will be available in South Africa from June 2018 starting at R34,999. Further, the Helios 300 will be available in South Africa from August this year, but the exact local pricing is currently unknown.

See the Predator Helios 500 in action below 

Related: All the awesome gaming hardware Acer announced at the GPC 2018

Predator Helios 500 Specs

The Acer Predator Helios 500 is a monster and it not only looks fierce but it packs the hardware to boast too. There will be a couple of different models releasing in the Helios 500 range and depending on your budget will depend on what model suits your fancy.

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The models vary from the powerful Intel Core-i9 to a lesser Intel Core-i5. 

  • Intel 8th Gen Core i9+-8950HK CPU | Intel 8th Gen Core i9-8950HK CPU|  Intel 8th Gen i7-8750H | Intel 8th Gen i5-8300H
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB DDR5
  • 17-inch FHD (UHD option available too)144Hz Refresh Rate G-Sync compatible monitor
  • Dual Aero blade 3D Fans
  • 16GB RAM
  • Full RGB 16.8 million keyboard
  • 3x monitor support
  • 2.1 sound system

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As you can see from the specs, the Helios 500 is not playing around and its new approach to its features is trying to replicate a powerful desktop experience on a laptop thanks to its G-Sync support, 144Hz monitor and of course the new 2.1 sound system. The Helios 500 is also one of the first gaming laptops to feature a Core-i9 processor. 

Take a look at an interview with Acer on the new device below

The Predator Helios 500 is a big machine. Its 17-inch display is crisp and will make any portable gaming experience a joy while in use. The laptop comes in two models. The HD display boasts a 144Hz refresh rate and the UHD display a 60Hz refresh rate. Users will have the option to opt for the 4K display or the full HD one but it will come at the cost of the extra refresh rate. No matter what model you get, you will get G-Sync support across both of them. 

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The Helios 500 is a solid device. While a bit heavy at 2.8Kgs, it still feels like a great gaming laptop. Best of all is that Acer did not compromise on the graphics chip meaning there is no Max-Q GPU in this model so the performance is top-notch across the board. The power of the Core-i9 also allows the device to output to up to three monitors too so when you are around a bigger display you can plug in a Display Port cable for that 144Hz refresh rate or an HDMI cable and game on a PC monitor. 

Speaking of the board, the full keyboard is a blessing too and it comes with a full 16.8 million RGB backlit display for all those crazy people who love the RGB lighting. 

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The Acer Predator Helios 500 is without a doubt a monster machine and it is almost as if Acer has finally found their voice in gaming tech. In the past, we have seen the Predator 21X and the Triton 500 release as more prototype machines than anything else. Very expensive and only catering to a niche audience. The Helios 300 and Helios 500 are set to change that with a new approach to its tech and design. I hope to spend more time with the Helios 500 in the coming months and hopefully put it to the test with a full review and throw some benchmarks in there too. 

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